Pashinyan

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The call from the Swiss consulate in St. Petersburg came at the end of April 1914. Taking into account the applicant’s material well-being, as well as political motives, the Swiss government decided to issue entry visas to Vardan Boyadzhyan and his family members. It was also prescribed there to arrive in St. Petersburg within a month for their registration. Lyudmila warned that a perm, a residence permit, would become an internal document for refugees from Russia in Switzerland. It will be awarded first for six months, then for a year. She also recommended that I apply for transit visas at the German consulate, get to Hamburg by sea, and then transfer to the train.

The moment came that Vardan feared the most. From the day he applied for an entry visa, he lost his peace and sleep. It was unbearably hard to leave the country where I was born, raised, started a family and raised four children. Even more unbearable was the thought that his beloved daughter, albeit at the insistence of her unloved son-in-law, had made a different choice and was breaking up with him.

He regretted that he did not have time to fulfill his old dream and take the children to Armenia, show and see the monuments of its history for himself, visit Karabakh, about which classmates used to talk so much. Their enthusiastic stories about the teachers of the Shusha real school, about the beauty of this marvelous Armenian land, which is not inferior to the beauty of Switzerland, were forever imprinted in his memory.

Coming daily to Amalia and fiddling with her sons, Vardan tried to distract himself from sad thoughts. It was necessary to cope with the fear of the unknown, and he, like a disgustingly cold snake, stubbornly crawled into his soul. Everything in my chest tightened with concern for Amalia and her grandchildren. With a titanic effort of will, he again and again drove away from himself a terrible presentiment — we would never see each other again.